Posted on April 7, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
It’s not just lodgepoles — many of Colorado’s forest types are going to feel the heat of global warming. Bob Berwyn photo.
Global warming not playing favorites, as all of the state’s forests are struggling with dry conditions and increasing temperatures
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — I’ve been working my way through a series of stories about Colorado’s forests the past few weeks — after all, lodgepole pines are only one part of the state’s forest landscapes, and in looking at the overall picture, it’s clear that global warming and drought are probably going to have a big effect.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Even though the pine beetle outbreak was scary big and scary fast, it looks like those lodgepole groves will grow back just fine, at least in the short-term (the jury is still out on the impacts of global warming). In some areas, the young trees that remained after the beetle outbreak are growing twice as fast as before, and in many areas, the forests are growing back with more diversity. Read the Summit Voice story here. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, Environment, forests, global warming | Tagged: Bark beetle, climate, Colorado, Colorado aspen forests, forests, ips beetle, piñon juniper, spruce-fir forests | 4 Comments »
Posted on January 26, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Pine beetle-killed trees in Summit County, Colorado.
Dartmouth scientists study pine beetle population dynamics
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Dartmouth scientists say they may have found a pathway to keeping pine beetles in check, showing that their populations fluctuate between extremes, with no middle ground.
“That is different from most species, such as deer, warblers and swallowtail butterflies, whose populations tend to be regular around some average abundance based on food, weather, and other external factors,” said Matt Ayres, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Dartmouth and senior author on the paper. “They don’t appear and disappear in cycles. Rather, they exist in two stable equilibrium states—one of high abundance and the other of scarcity.”
Once the population pendulum swings toward the high end, it won’t quickly or easily swing back, Ayres explained.
According to the new study, forest managers might be able to keep pine beetle populations at the low end of the scale by boosting competitor and predator beetle populations — but they don’t address how that could affect the overall equilibrium of forest ecosystems, especially those where older trees need a change agent like bark beetles to spur regeneration. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Forest health, pine beetles | Tagged: Bark beetle, Biology, Dartmouth, forest ecosystems, Forest health, forests, pine beetles | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 31, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Still more questions than answers
Beetle-killed trees on the Frisco Peninsula in Summit County, Colorado.
Young and healthy lodgepoles grow in a beetle-killed stand in Frisco, Colorado.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — As Forest Service researchers continue to study the dynamics of beetle-killed forests and wildfires, it seems each new study raises at least as many questions as it answers. One of the latest efforts warns against basing resource decisions on generalized assumptions.
The new study from the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research and Pacific Northwest Research stations, and the University of Idaho tries to provide a more complete picture of the effects of the pine beetle, but concludes that there are still key gaps in the research making it hard for resource managers to know exactly what those effects are.
“This study was prompted by concerns about the possibility of more extreme crown fire behavior in beetle-killed stands and public safety and structure loss, as well as impacts on firefighting operations,” said co-author Jane Hayes, who also serves as assistant director of the Pacific Southwest Research Station. “Our aim was to synthesize available information to provide greater understanding to fire and resource managers who need to consider the effect of beetle-killed trees on future wildfire characteristics.”
Forest type, climatic and weather conditions, elapsed time since the beetle infestation and the condition of other fuels are all important factors in evaluating fire potential and treatment options, the study says. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, forest fires, forests, global warming, pine beetles and wildfires, Summit County news | Tagged: Bark beetle, Forest health, United States Forest Service, Wildfires | 3 Comments »
Posted on January 21, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
A map from the latest aerial surveys clearly shows the spread of the beetles toward the north and east, into ponderosa pines along the Front Range. Click to enlarge the image.
Ponderosa pines on Front Range now taking the brunt of the attack, but secondary beetle-kill also taking a toll in other areas
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Aerial survey results released Jan. 21 show that bark beetles spread across an additional 400,000 acres in 2010, mostly moving to the north and east and into Ponderosa pine stands in the northern Front Range. A total of about 4 million acres are now affected by the insect epidemic.
Links to all the latest information is available at this Forest Service website.
The acreage encompasses lands on three national forests in Colorado and Wyoming that have been at the heart of the infestation. It includes lodgepole, five-needle and ponderosa pine tree types.
If there’s good news, it’s that the tree-killing insects haven’t made a big move to the south and the west, into the dense lodgepole pine forests around Leadville, on the Pike-San Isabel National Forest, for example. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Forest health, forests, pine beetles | Tagged: Bark beetle, Forest health, Mountain pine beetle, pine beetles, Pinus ponderosa, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region | Leave a Comment »